February 2015 Independent Press Profiles
the Dodgeballs … at Work
9781484033951 Paperback -$14.95 Kindle - $2.99
Avoiding the Dodgeballs … at Work: A Young Woman's Guide to Succeeding at a First Job tackles a topic normally buried in wider-ranging career guides: how to dodge typical problems that affect young women as they embark on their first climb up the business ladder. It's directed to entry-level female employees or supervisors and it outlines the exact nature of these common obstacles and how to either avoid them entirely or work with them.
One might anticipate that the major problem involves harassment or prejudices - and indeed these underlie many of the issues - but the pleasure of this coverage lies in its candid discussions of office politics and problems that range from gossip to demotions and confrontations both with peers and superiors.
Chapters display questions and answers from the fictional 'Katie', the perfect example of a new employee fielding her first obstacles, and use her responses as a foundation for exploring everything from fringe benefits and how they are applied to identifying both the mindset and processes of different kinds of supervisors, managing or coping with not only one's own time but the work of supervisors and peers, and avoiding coworkers who create toxic environments.
While many of these issues may seem to skirt the edges of common-sense thinking more than business savvy, it's important to note the audience for Avoiding the Dodgeballs: the new grad student, the entry-level worker, or the female facing her first obstacles on her first job. This audience is unlikely to receive such insights from anywhere other than this book and the school of hard knocks: and given the choice between the two, Avoiding the Dodgeballs should win hands down.
Add in some black and white cartoon embellishments and a format which is chatty yet information, breaking topics into segments and visuals and making them readable and easy to understand, and you have a guide which should be in every women's issues or business and career collection.Avoiding the Dodgeballs … at Work
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Werner H. Kraus
Beyond the Horizon: Sailing Around the World on "Columbine" has only one prerequisite for complete enjoyment; and that requirement is an overall interest in sailing - whether it be from an armchair or from the captain's chair.
One might think this too obvious to mention, as the book's subtitle includes mention of sailing, but many sailing books are actually not adventure reads but 'how to' treatises - unlike Beyond the Horizon, which details the author's 7 1/2 year circumnavigation of the globe via sailboat, beginning and ending in Hawaii. Yes, there's a good number of tips on how to overcome a range of problems from breakdowns to cultural encounters - but the overall feel is of high adventure, and plenty of action makes this much more than a boat-oriented journey alone, as it voyages into dangerous cultural waters as well.
These descriptions of cultural problems and how they were overcome is as much a part of Kraus's story as the chapters of sailing descriptions. Stories relate navigation challenges in specific locales that range from Alaska to Indonesia, pointing out the importance of good charts, the challenge of sailing through kelp beds, and the cultural intricacies of dating women in Tonga.
Now, finer attention to editing would have solved some minor punctuation and grammar flaws peppered throughout ("This book chronicles the authors 7 1/2 year circumnavigation." and "They all hoped for peace, but it seems, perhaps only on their turns."). While these should be noted, they are actually minor disturbances to the force of the story being told: a satisfying romp through customs, cultural oddities, government encounters sometimes annoying and occasionally frightening.
Expect a gripping first-person sailing yarn replete with odd characters, close encounters, and irksome situations - all of which Werner H. Kraus overcomes with a sailor's flexibility and grace. Any who love accounts of sailing adventures, mishaps, and high seas adventure will relish the lively autobiographical stories and cultural revelations in Beyond the Horizon.
(It should be mentioned that the author's website offers sample text and the book's photographs in color - plus, the option of buying an autographed copy directly from the author.)Beyond the Horizon
Jump Swing Healthy Aging and Athletic Nutrition Program
Donald "Spiderman" Thomas
9781462884261 $17.63 Paperback $26.99 Hardcover
New Jump Swing Healthy Aging and Athletic Nutrition Program is a lot of words for a fitness title: enough to warn readers expecting the usual diet approach that, perhaps, this is something different. Add the mention under the author's name that Thomas is a three-times Guinness World Record holder and you have yet another indicator that this won't be a quick, easy read, and is not a recommendation for fitness readers who want a 'miracle program' promising fast results with minimal effort.
Instead it's an unusual dual focus on the author's customized martial arts routines combined with a vegetarian nutrition regimen; so be forewarned: those not already interested in getting involved in such a program should look elsewhere … but then, those who aren't interested in real change involving increased vitality and healthy routines shouldn't be looking in this direction, in general.
The Guinness World Records mentioned are in public speaking, and this talent is reflected in discussions that blend a history of nutritional approaches with a specific health and fitness program pairing the approach of Bruce Lee with some thirty years of research by the author, who delves into sports nutrition and common aging challenges alike.
Thomas (61 yrs old) has been the celebrity chairperson for the American Heart Associations Jump Rope for Heart campaign Hawaii chapter for over 21 years. He has taught and continues to teach his fitness and nutrition program to over 60% of the Hawaii school system including colleges and universities along with most of Hawaii's fitness clubs.
There's a lot of jumping around (so to speak) in this book's topics: readers who want a narrower focus will find the approach broad and demanding. Chapters are packed with wide-ranging discussions, from the dangers of bread and caffeine in energy drinks to selected common barriers to health during the aging process and how to use nutrition and fitness to overcome them. As a Social Security Disability advocate, Thomas knows from first hand experience the end results of not maintaining ones health and fitness.
That's a lot to pack in to some 200 pages - and a lot to digest. It's evident that this program and approach is not for casual readers who would only lightly pursue a course of fitness and nutrition, but for the reader already committed to a blend of vegetarian nutrition, martial arts-enhanced exercise, and change.
Challenging and demanding? You bet. Passionate and well-detailed? Absolutely. Nobody ever said fitness would be an easy pursuit.
Donald "Spiderman" Thomas's specifics are a satisfying alternative to the plethora of 'pop health' books on the market, and are recommended for those already on a similar course (i.e. a vegetarian perspective and attention to personal and planetary health alike) who want more details on how to achieve better, lasting health as the body ages.New Jump Swing Healthy Aging and Athletic Nutrition Program
English (AHE) Picture Book and
Email Contact: email@example.com
9781493162666 $19.99 Paperback
Laura Medlin is a registered nurse who also holds degrees in teaching and humanities, so her unique approach to hospital English and its explanations, American Hospital English (AHE) Picture Book and Pronunciation Guide, comes from both a clinical and linguistics background and provides a rare dual focus that will help any interested in the type of English used in American hospitals.
The intended reader is a non-native speaker of English (whether healthcare professionals or not) and is tailored after a picture-style dictionary format. Each chapter is devoted to one letter of the English alphabet and pairs phonetic spellings, definitions, and sentences with images and symbols specific to many medical profession discussions.
Take the 'L' section, for example: included in the definitions are 'laceration', with a black and white drawing of a knife penetrating an arm, a medical definition, and reference to "Another word for laceration is cut." Words and phases may be as simple as 'legs' (with its one-sentence description "Your legs may feel weak from being in bed for so long.") to 'life support', defined as 'the use of any technique, therapy, or device to assist in sustaining life.'
There are no color illustrations - everything is in black and white, and most of the drawings come from the author.
With each entry offering a phonetic spelling, a definition, and a sample sentence demonstrating usage - all cemented by pictures or symbols - this is a good, specific approach for any interested in American healthcare language and its slang terms: especially for those where English is a second language.American Hospital English (AHE) Picture Book and Pronunciation Guide
American Hospital English: Word Puzzles and
Email Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
American Hospital English: Word Puzzles and Exercises is recommended as a complimentary workbook to American Hospital English (AHE) Picture Book and Pronunciation Guide, and supports the basic approach and principles of the American Hospital English (AHE) Picture Book - so prior familiarity with the first book is almost a requirement.
Here nearly thirty word puzzles support commonly used American hospital English words and terms, include abbreviations, and once again work with the author's line drawings to provide visual cues for understanding.
The difference between this and the first picture book dictionary lies in the fact that American Hospital English: Word Puzzles and Exercises is a reinforcing study that uses simple exercises to reinforce the concepts learned in the original book and re-presented here.
One such puzzle involves a picture and invitation to label major organs; another tackles the neuro system using a crossword puzzle (the puzzle's format is smaller than your usual crossword, so be forewarned).
From using labeling to understanding medical terminology word roots and matching pictures and words centered around a patient's room, information ranges from very simple to complex and presumes readers have little prior familiarity with American hospital English's expressions and medical vocabulary.
ESL students as well as those working with patients for whom English is a second language will find these important keys to absorbing the terminology and descriptions inherent in the American medical system.American Hospital English: Word Puzzles and Exercises
The Fans' Love Story ENCORE: How the Movie Dirty Dancing Captured the Hearts of Millions! is a 2013 edition vastly expanded from the original 2010 appearance (to that point that 95% is brand new material, making this, for the most part, a new book) and includes new tributes, photos, and interviews that carry on the theme of being a tribute to the movie Dirty Dancing.
Of course, this means that an immediate prerequisite is a prior familiarity with the movie and an existing affection (perhaps even an infatuation) with its characters, plot, and dancing. Those with such feelings will find this celebratory text packed with behind-the-scenes information on the producers, stars, and film team that includes an in-depth interview from producer Linda Gottlieb about its making, interviews and photos with story consultant and dancer Jackie Horner, and more.
There are exclusive set photos, there are insider tidbits of tantalizing information (and for more details, you'll just have to read The Fans' Love Story ENCORE), and a portion of the proceeds from this book's sale will be donated to the Patrick Swayze Pancreas Cancer Research Fund at Stanford.
With such motivations for enjoyment in mind, pre-existing fans will find this satisfying even if they have much familiarity with the film and its production.
Chapters offer articles and interviews from various individuals involved in the film, they pair black and white with color photos throughout, and they cover everything from dancing challenges and experts involved in specific scenes to how producers and actors become part of Dirty Dancing and, later, the cult attractions it fostered.
Any involved in the film-making industry will find this coverage leaves little to the imagination: even the experiences of extras - something typically omitted from film history books - are included.
Film history as well as general-interest collections will find this a fascinating, specific overview of not just how the movie was made, but the process whereby it was marketed to eventually reach millions of enthusiasts.The Fans' Love Story Encore
to Write Short Stories That Sell
9780957670433 $16.50 www.dormousepress.co.uk
Many fiction writers believe they have to start big, with a full novel; but as Jane Bettany demonstrates, they do not. How to Write Short Stories That Sell is all about mastering the short story format, and it covers all the writer's basics that are needed in order to craft not just a short story, but one that is salable.
This is the point that separates How to Write Short Stories That Sell from other writer's guides: while it covers the usual approaches to plot, structure, characterization and description, it also focuses on the editing process and adds important points on sales potential that are often missing from other creative writer's how-to guides.
It pairs description of technique with reinforcing exercises and examples of solid short story writing, it shows how to identify the right markets for a particular type of story and how to submit them to a publication, and (most importantly) it encourages creativity, experimentation, and a deeper attention to understanding the advantages and disadvantages of different short story approaches.
How to Write Short Stories That Sell isn't just about how to write: it's how to produce a superior short story that deserves to be in the public eye. And that's why How to Write Short Stories That Sell, more than many of its competitors, deserves to be in the writer's eye.How to Write Short Stories That Sell
Inspire on Purpose
9780988753365 $17.99 www.inspireonpurpose.com
Surrounded by Thunder: The Story of Darrell Loan and the Rocketmen isn't another survey of astronauts who participated in space programs, but focuses on the rocket scientists who actually helped make these journeys happen. So while it's a recommendation for any collection strong in space science or history; don't expect another 'I was an astronaut' saga here (that's already been overdone): Surrounded by Thunder offers so much more.
Under a different hand, Surrounded by Thunder could have proved overly technical, focusing on the science behind space program history, which also has been done before. But this seeks to capture the atmosphere of the space program in general and Darrell Loan's life and contributions in particular: as such, it's a gathering of vivid insider stories, details about space program engineering history and challenges, and behind-the-scenes stories such as how the Mercury Seven were chosen for their mission. The author conducted extensive interviews with these pioneering scientists to document NASA'S heady, early days; but his provides these details in an unusually lively format accessible to a wide audience.
Each chapter reads with the immediacy and vivid description of fiction, yet packs in a blend of 'you are there' reports from newspapers with interview results and fun truths about snafus and unexpected long-range successes.
While Darrell Loan is the rocket man given specific consideration here, coverage includes a range of events involving a team of rocket men over the history of the world's space programs, placing all of them in proper historical and scientific perspective.
So don't look for the usual story of 'how I became an astronaut' or 'what it was like to walk on the moon.' DO look for a behind-the-scenes exposé narrated in an unusually lively style that succeeds in injecting humor and human insights into its blend of history and biographical profiles.
Surrounded by Thunder recently won the coveted gold medal for non-fiction in the 2013 Florida Book Awards: this is a good indicator of its award-winning contents!Surrounded by Thunder
Pat LaDouceur, PhD
Twin Rocks Press
1505 Solano Avenue, Albany, CA 94707
9780990619505 $16.00 www.smallchangebigresults.com
Small Change, Big Results: How Simple Actions Can Reshape Your Life is designed for readers with big dreams who want to link these ideals with concrete goal-setting skill sets. While many a book approaches this similar topic with more of an idealistic viewpoint, the goal of Pat LaDoucer, a licensed psychotherapist, is to explore how dreams translate into goals and then reality, and she offers specific tools that can be used to foster such changes.
One might anticipate that these tools would take a good amount of time to learn and employ, but one of the pleasures of Small Change, Big Results is that they are actually quite simple - and backed by the latest scientific research, not idealistic thinking.
It's a process - so don't expect a series of quick stand-alone admonitions, but a succession of tools that interact with each other to form a game plan for identifying and enacting change. Yes, they are easy to learn - but the importance here lies in absorbing the entire process in chapters that reinforce the idea of altering thought patterns to accept the most creative paths possible.
It's a system that promises to reduce feelings of overwhelm and negative stress, and one which is paired with easy reinforcing exercises and 'getting started' tips that take key points and translate them to simple actions.
Readers ready for positive change will find Small Change, Big Results: How Simple Actions Can Reshape Your Life the best place to begin.Small Change, Big Results
California Coast from the Air
Gary Griggs and Deepika Shrestha Ross
9780878426126 $28.00 www.mountain-press.com
California Coast from the Air: Images of a Changing Landscape features half-page color photos by Kenneth and Gabrielle Adelman paired with an aerial survey of the state's geology and geography, and represents the photographers' efforts to produce an aerial photographic display of the entire 1,100-mile coastline, the California Coastal Records Project.
Plenty of books on California offer visual surveys of the state: so much so that one could wonder at the need for yet another. There are also other a few other aerial books on the market that take segments of the state (more notably, the major urban areas such as San Francisco ) and provide photographic views.
It should be noted, however, that California Coast from the Air isn't designed to be a glitzy armchair tourist read, but is a serious survey of the natural environment using some 150 of the best photos from a collection of over 100,000 aerial shots.
From coastal dunes and plunging cliffs to the geography of each county in the state, chapters arranged by county and prefaced with color maps provide both photos and text filled with natural and human history.
Without such accompanying text, California Coast from the Air could have found itself competing with more casual aerial photo collections. And without its wide-ranging photo focus on geography and natural history, the text wouldn't come to life as completely or successfully as it does, either.
In the end California Coast from the Air is a fine example of a rare, difficult, and successful marriage between image, geography, and human and natural history, and provides California readers, in particular, with a fine feature enhanced by oceanographer Gary Griggs, architect Deepika Shrestha Ross, and photographers Kenneth and Gabrielle Adelman's diverse areas of expertise.California Coast from the Air
Monk in the Bee Hive
Skye Ann Louise Taylor
90 Oteen Church Road, Ashville, NC 28805
9780981575773 $16.00 www.logosophiabooks.com
Beekeeping and Buddhism are not ordinarily two pursuits mentioned under the same cover; but then, A Monk in the Bee Hive: A Short Discourse on Bees, Monks and Sacred Geometry is neither spiritual discourse alone nor natural history survey; but lies somewhere in the shadowy realm between the two.
Perhaps this will be the most difficult part of its marketing process, too: the fact that spirituality readers typically don't receive in-depth accounts of beekeeping, while nature readers looking for details on managing bees will find A Monk in the Bee Hive is more than a nature story.
Instead, it's a story of author Skye Ann Louise Taylor's meditative explorations which center around nature in general and connections to the sacred world of something she calls "the great bee".
Now, the concepts of 'sacred queens' or 'holy drones' may prove far-fetched to the ordinary beekeeper; but to new age audiences, it's an intriguing vehicle for exploring the world using images and ideas of bees as the foundation for personal insight and spiritual exploration. Under this approach, something as basic as observing a queen bee's lure and size translates neatly into deeper lessons on life that blend beekeeper actions and their consequences with larger explorations.
As the author learns how to work with and handle bees, so she gains not just confidence but insights on how the world of the hive works in response to human attitudes as well as internal processes: "Since then I have never worn a veil or globes, but I am slow and careful with these wild ones, these lovely honey bees. To get close to beauty, sometimes you just have to take a risk."
From the unnatural drives of the industrial beekeeping business and its relentless compulsion for 'bigger and better' to the origins of alienation, A Monk in the Bee Hive moves deftly from a serious of personal, introspective reflections to larger social issues: "With the loss of this relationship comes a loss of caring. We tend to care for what comforts us. When what comforts us becomes a gizmo rather than a landscape, then, looking at that landscape, our mind mines it for parts to make our gizmo with. We stop caring about the landscape, we no longer see it whole. We are sniffling for the parts."
While hard to neatly define and categorize, the most likely happy reader of this evocative, spiritual and philosophical natural history will be the new age reader with a prior interest in bees, Buddhist thinking, or both. Such an audience will appreciate the deeply reflective, yet accessible, blend of thought and interaction with nature that makes up this exceptional, delicate dance between beekeeper and bee.A Monk in the Bee Hive